Samui Wining & Dining
Join me for Brunch

It’s not breakfast. It’s not lunch. So what exactly is the meal that’s become a social trend?


17Portmanteau – this is the fancy name of a word that fuses both the sounds and the meaning of its components, such as ‘smog’, which is a combination of smoke and fog. With this concept in mind, brunch is a meal eaten between breakfast and lunch in the late morning, and is a substitute for both these meals. It literally combines not only the two words – breakfast and lunch – but the two meals as well.

      So who came up with the term? Well, the 1896 supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary cites Punch magazine, which wrote that the term was coined in Britain, in 1895, to describe a Sunday meal for ‘Saturday-night carousers’ in the article “Brunch: A Plea” in Hunter’s Weekly by Guy Beringer. The article goes on to say that instead of England’s early Sunday dinner, a post-church ordeal of heavy meats and savoury pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare? By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers.

      It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Beringer wrote, “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” Well now … that sounds like a good enough reason to skip breakfast and take a leisurely brunch, don’t you think?

      Others argue that the term is credited to reporter, Frank Ward O’Malley, who wrote for the New York newspaper, The Sun, from 1906 until 1919. It’s allegedly based on the typical midday eating habits of a newspaper reporter. Whoever coined the term, there’s no doubt it’s now an everyday word. Evidence suggests that the meal became popular in the homes of the British upper classes, where servants had a half-day off on Sunday, so the staff would lay out a buffet spread in the morning that allowed people to graze for breakfast and lunch. With this same thought, colleges, hotels and boarding schools and even cruise ships, which serve three meals on other days, often only serve brunch on Sundays and holidays, allowing daytime kitchen staff to leave early, and residents to sleep in late.

      There’s also a connotation of leisurely indulgence surrounding the word. Breakfast is something you eat in haste before rushing off to work. Brunch, on the other hand, is best enjoyed on a lazy Sunday... a day you can sleep in.

      And if you’re wondering where to meet for brunch, Samui’s restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon and several offer fabulous brunch spreads. A couple that spring to mind (but most certainly not the only ones) are Beach Republic’s ‘Ultimate Sunday Brunch Club’, and RockPool’s ‘Oyster Sunday Brunch’. These meals are a great way to while-away a Sunday, and involve live entertainment, eating as much as you like from decadent buffets, often with generous quantities of champagne and cocktails.

      And that brings up another point on why brunch is so popular. Somehow, alcohol at breakfast causes raised eyebrows. Yet say ‘join me for brunch’ and somehow it’s okay to crack open a bottle of bubbly or order a mojito. And some say that the best cure for a hangover is to keep drinking… so sleeping in and then enjoying a brunch on Sunday after a crazy Saturday night lets you follow this advice – whether it’s good or not, is something else! It’s become trendy to have celebrations over brunch too, such as wedding receptions and graduation parties. And often restaurants will promote special holidays by hosting for instance, a Mothers’ Day brunch.

       These brunches are usually buffets, commonly involving standard breakfast foods such as eggs, sausages, bacon, ham, fruits, pastries, pancakes, and the like, yet on a more decadent scale than for your usual fry-up or continental breakfast. However, they can include almost any other type of food served throughout the day.

         Other popular brunch buffet dishes include cold cut meats, roasts, seafood such as shrimp or smoked salmon, pastas, soups, salads and a selection of desserts – brunch is no time to worry about the diet. Actually, there are no limitations when it comes to what can be served on a brunch menu. And, as mentioned, at brunch it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy a glass of bubbly or a bloody Mary.

         In a world of fast food, it’s good to sometimes take the time to really enjoy and linger over a meal, and brunch is a great way to do so. There’s nothing rushed about it. It’s all about enjoying good food in good company. So where are you heading next Sunday for brunch?


Rosanne Turner


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